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August 4, 1917


JAMA. 1917;LXIX(5):400. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590320076029

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To the Editor:  —In a note in The Journal (July 28, 1917, p. 290) Sir William Osler warns examiners of recruits against certain defects which will render men unfit for service in the field, and mentions "the neurasthenic." This reminds me of facts also worthy of recognition in connection with the examination of recruits which deserve to supplement in a measure the caution given by Dr. Osler. A certain number of men of unstable brain and nervous system will present themselves who, while all surface indications seem favorable, still are especially apt, whenever brought under severe or strenuous conditions, to suffer a breakdown or collapse of brain and nervous system.Many of the neurasthenics mentioned by Dr. Osler are also "psychasthenics." By this I mean persons lacking in power of adaptation to severe external conditions, such as necessarily occur in connection with active military service.It is especially important to

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